SYDNEY – Located on the southern edge of Sydney’s urban core, this enigmatic, angular building by Denton Corker Marshall is part of a decade-long redevelopment effort initiated by the city’s University of Technology to upgrade its facilities and create an ‘iconic and connected campus’.
Fulfilling these seemingly contradictory demands, the architects have opted to drape the building in perforated aluminium sheets, creating a singular, sculptural object. The outer envelope, with its perforation based on the binary code of the building’s official name – University of Technology Sydney Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology – also eliminates glare and reduces solar heat gains.
Precise incisions in the screen-like skin allow for multiple connections on the ground level along the principal routes that converge around the building. ‘They visually reinforce the façade as a skin and symbolically allow the building to breathe,’ say the architects.
Inside, the 14-storey building is bisected by a narrow, crevice-like atrium around which a diverse programme – comprising offices, laboratories, education spaces and communal lounges – is organised, benefitting from natural daylight that filters down into the building. Entrances to lecture halls are located on the ground floor. Seemingly random stairs and walkways across this chasm create connections between various floors and parts of the programme.
The materialisation is kept simple and raw, with bare-faced concrete and corten steel elements blending seamlessly with glass to achieve a warehouse-like aesthetic. The facilities, however, are anything but rough, as the building accommodates some of the most cutting-edge research facilities in Australia dedicated to robotics, computer and human-centred design and 3D data visualisation.